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WAFF reporter honored for stopping robbery suspect

Published: Sep. 15, 2015 at 12:19 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2015 at 12:19 AM CDT
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Vincent pinned a robbery suspect at a Huntsville Kroger store until police could arrive....
Vincent pinned a robbery suspect at a Huntsville Kroger store until police could arrive. (Source: WAFF)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - When "on the clock," reporters are trained to be impartial, to not let emotions or impulses cause us to get involved with a story.

However, at the end of the day, we are all human beings, and in the heat of the moment, most human beings reach out to help right a wrong.

In July, WAFF reporter Vincent Crivelli was faced with that exact situation - and his actions led to his being awarded with a Medal for Heroism by the Tennessee Valley Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.

MORE: Reporter foils attempted robbery

Huntsville police said that the manager of the Kroger store on Oakwood Avenue was in her car when she was approached by a man who asked for money. When she refused, the man opened the door and jumped on her.

Crivelli overheard the woman's cries for help and ran to the car. Police said he grabbed the man, pulled him away, and pinned him to the ground until officers arrived.

The man was identified as 59-year-old Leonard Gray, a convicted sex offender. He was arrested and charged with third-degree robbery.

Organizers with Monday's ceremony said the award is primarily for civilians, and the group hands out a small number of these honors nationwide.

"To recognize individuals that have gone beyond, sacrificed or put their life on the line [to protect] someone else," said Fred Olive with the Sons of the American Revolution.

In addition to the medal, Vincent was presented with a certificate which reads, "In recognition of outstanding bravery and self-sacrifice in the face of imminent danger, thus exemplifying the high ideals and principles which motivated and sustained our patriot ancestors.

Despite the high praise, Vincent maintains he just did what came as instinct to him.

"I'm honored to be recognized by such a prestigious organization," Vincent Crivelli said in a written statement. "I did what I feel any man would have done in that situation. I didn't go above and beyond - I simply acted as I should have."

Vincent wished to add that if there is one lesson to be learned from his experience, it is this:

"I made a difference because I chose to act - and so can you."

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